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Quick Meals for a Picky Toddler and Hubby?

  • I often end up not having much time to make dinner, and I have a very picky two year old and a husband who is almost as bad. Pasta, rice and seafood is all out, as are soups. Any ideas? Here is a handful of stuff that I´m doing at the moment.

    - Burritos with beans and cheese, hamburger meat and tomatoes (I make about 50 at a time, wrap individually in foil and freeze)

    - Eggs, scrambled is the only way anyone eats them.

    - Simple salads, tomato and onion or carrot salad.

    Any other suggestions would be very much appreciated.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Genesis on 10th April 2008
  • Hmmm... no pasta, rice, or seafood. But any type of meat is OK? And any type of vegetable? Soup is out, but stews or curries are OK?

    Shepherd's pie: ground meat, seasoned well and mixed with chopped veggies (carrots, onion, parnsips, anything, really) and topped with cheese and mashed potato, then baked. If you make them up in disposable pie tins, they freeze pretty well (unbaked) and then you can finish them in the oven.

    Indian curries: I think I've posted a few here in the Busy Chef group, but most curries freeze well, you can make extra sauce and freeze that and then just simmer the meat in it for a fast meal later (unorthodox, maybe, but hey, it works). If you make the sauce a little thick, you can eat it with flatbread instead of rice.

    Roasted everything: Roast a chicken using your favorite recipe and, while it's cooking, roast root veggies in the same pan and some other veggies in another pan. Season the veggies simply, with oil, salt, and pepper, maybe a spritz of lemon juice. Leftover chicken can be shredded for burritos or salads, leftover root veggies can be roughly mashed and mixed with chicken for a great hash, and leftover other veggies will taste good in a cold salad.

    Thanksgiving sandwiches: Sliced turkey on rustic bread with cranberry sauce and gravy poured over top, served hot.

    Toad in the hole: Usually made with yorkshire pudding batter, you can bury the sausages in mashed potatoes instead (leave the potatoes chunky) and it still tastes good... here's a link to a more traditional recipe:,1726,154170-255197, 00.html

    Good luck!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse on 10th April 2008
  • Buy a grill pan and a steamer and some spices and alternate between grilled pork chops, steaks, burgers, chicken breasts, fresh sausages, etc. Serve with boiled or baked potatoes (they can add butter, sour creams, salt, etc.); steamed veggies; fresh baked bread; fresh lettuce salad w/oil & vinegar, and store-bought dessert. Simple, easy and healthy.

    Don't worry about the 2-year-old. My younger son would eat nothing but Cream of Wheat for years and turned out just fine.

    PS the key to the perfectly done grilled meats is to put them on a plate under a foil tent for 5 minutes just after grilling. They won't be dry. Good luck!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Christina on 10th April 2008
  • tater tot hot dish

    brown hamburger in a pan; salt and pepper; drain; put back in the pan

    add a can of cream of mushroom soup; add a can of cream of celery soup- mix it up

    put in a corning dish

    drain french cut green beans, layer on top of hamburger

    spread the top with tater tots 'til it covers everything

    bake in oven according to tater tot directions.

    the hubby and kids love this- me, not so much- but i've eaten so much of it in my life that i have about had it!

    it's easy though!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Earthmama on 10th April 2008
  • Thanks, everyone, I really appreciate the tips. They all sound like great recipes and I´m definitely going to be trying them.

    Something else that just happened . . . after a little spat about the whole food thing, my husband has offered to cook three nights a week . . . which means he´ll actually eat. And the toddler has decided that carrots are acceptable, so he´s just downing oranges and carrots now . . . refusing anything else, but at least it´s healthy, right?

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Genesis on 17th April 2008
  • I'm lucky in that my husband will eat ANYTHING (except beans, he won't touch those). My kids are a different story. One won't eat red meat, he only eats chicken or fish, and the occasional pork chop. the other one only WANTS red meat, preferably hamburgers, with extra extra ketchup. The one that doesn't like meat, doesn't like anything to have a sauce on it, unless it's alfredo or cheese sauce. The other one wants more ketchup. On everything. Including broccoli. Ketchup makes the other one throw up. He actually had a 20 minute melt down because my stepfather accidently put ketchup on his hotdog, and once at school he freaked out and didn't get to eat his lunch because the teacher put ketchup on his hotdog by mistake, and he cried for so long and so hard that lunch was over before he stopped. As they are getting older now, they are slowly trying new things. Some weeks, all they eat is cheese pizza, the next week, they don't like that anymore. They once went an entire month where all the wanted was chicken nuggets. Neither would any veggies except green beans for the longest time. Now they are both starting to like salads a little bit. We don't do too many starches in our house, as I am prediabetic, and starches really aren't all that good for you. One thing they do like, the whole family likes is Steamed Caulifower.

    I steam it in the microwave, then add sour cream, bacon, green onions and lots of chedder cheese, then put it back in the microwave and melt the cheese. My 6 year old will eat 3 helpings of it, and they have actually ASKED me for cauliflower.

    Oh yeah, and mexican salad: Taco meat, lettuce, tomato, kidney beans if they will eat them, onions, Chedder cheese, fritos, and catalina dressing. Mix the salad greans with the tomatos, and a rinsed and drained can of red kidney beans (cold) together. brown your meat with the onion, and add seasoning according to package directions. Put fritos on plate, add salad, then meat, then cheese, then top with catalina dressing. My husband will eat this for days.

    Carrots and oranges are GREAT!!! Neither of mine like either one of those things. I found a book the other day about good meals for kids, I will see if I can find the title for you!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by sonyareads on 17th April 2008
  • Mexican salad recipe is great, thanks for that -- I'm going to try it tonight since I have sound ground beef and hamburgers are getting old.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 17th April 2008
  • I have just discovered that everyone will eat any vegetable I serve if I mix it with several more familiar ones and simply sautee them with a spray of butter flavored pam. I have managed to sneak in squash and zucchini and snow peas. I just some sort of meat with it, and it takes all of 15 minutes (as long as the meat isn't super thick and unfrozen)
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Niki D on 17th April 2008
  • Sonya, great taco salad recipe, I´ll be trying that one!

    Niki, my son likes some veggies, but only raw. He refuses to eat cooked vegetable and will actually pick them out of anything I put them in. :S My husband would probably eat them if they were served with meat, though!

    I´m also glad to hear that my kid isn´t the only one to focus on just one or two foods for long periods of time!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Genesis on 17th April 2008
  • Some tricks we use at home...

    Anything on a stick... ie Kabobs. You can make these Daddy and kid friendly. Kids like them just because they are on a stick. We do several varities.... kosher sausage dogs, with tator tots alternated with some veggies. We also do marinated chicken or steak chunks with baby red potatos...etc.

    Anything with a dip. My hubby doesn't like cooked veggies... so to get him to eat them I serve cold sliced veggies (carrots, broccoli, peppers) with dips like ranch and italian dressing. The kids all love their veggies this way.

    Anything in fun shapes. From hamburger patties, pancakes, lunch meats and cheeses to biscuits. Kids love fun shapes. (I think hubby secretly likes them too!)

    We do breakfast for dinner often... waffles, eggs and sausage, french toast in fun shapes or biscuits and gravy... these are a hit with everyone.

    Stuffed baked potatos are another favorite around here. We serve up all kinds of toppings... chunked chicken, broccoli, olives, cheese, salsa....whatever strikes your fancy. Everyone tops their own potato. This is fun for everyone and they are excited to eat their creation.

    If hubby doesn't like pasta... you might try gnocchi or spaetzle instead. Both can be found ready to cook in the pasta section at the market.

    Make dinners colorful. If I am serving white meat I try to add a green veggie or a mix of veggies and fruit so that it looks more appealing.

    It's awesome that he is volunteering to help cook... hopefully that will give you insight as to the kind of food he likes... and it will lighten your burden as well.

    With you little man and veggies... seriously... if you don't mind the mess give him some dips. He may become a huge fan!

    Good Luck!

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